The Mom Tribe: Accepting Myself Without Fitting In

I don’t have a “mom tribe” like you often hear many moms mention.
I tend to not fit in to many social settings.
I am not like most moms I meet.

The Mom Tribe: Accepting Myself Without Fitting In
Growing up, I lived a somewhat sheltered life kept away from many of the societal norms. I couldn’t listen to the radio or go to the movies. I don’t know how to dance. And believe me, this last one is causing me quite a bit of distress thinking about my wedding reception in a couple months! (Anyone have dance instructor suggestions by the way?)

When I was younger, I seemed to be able to talk to anyone and carry on a conversation, but it seems that as I’ve gotten older, it’s become more and more difficult. I don’t have a mom tribe that I’m connected to, and part of that is due to my insane schedule. I have shared custody of my two boys, and the days are different every single week. It’s very difficult to be involved in a group on a consistent basis because of that schedule.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that most mom groups meet during the day, and as a working mom, that just doesn’t work. As my boys get older, they have become more involved in school activities and I try to as well. But I still don’t feel good enough. Many mothers in the area where my boys attend school have been friends for a long time. Unfortunately, these moms have formed their own kind of clique and it’s not easy to break into those groups.

I’m not a PTA mom (my schedule doesn’t allow it).
I’m not a hometown girl (since my hometown is 1,000 miles away).
I don’t have a tribe. I don’t have a list of mom friends I can call when I’m in a bind with school transportation or homework questions.

I’ve always tried to teach my boys that being unique is awesome! I’ve tried to instill in them that you don’t have to “fit in” to be one of the cool kids. I constantly tell them that as long as they are true to themselves and kind to those they meet, and a positive role model, that’s what’s most important. We have this saying in our family we use constantly: “Weird is just a side effect of being AWESOME!” We all have our quirks and we all are unique in our own way. But why do I still try SO hard to fit in and be more like everyone else?

So, despite being the socially awkward mom that I am, I’m learning to accept myself for who I am. This is not an easy task, by ANY stretch of the imagination! But I also know that if I want to teach my own children acceptance of themselves and others, I have to first show that acceptance of myself. It’s not to say I won’t clam up in social situations. I bet I’m still going to feel awkward in a group of people because I don’t feel adequate enough. That’s probably always going to happen.

But what is NOT going to happen is this. I’m going to try not to beat myself up for not fitting in. I’m going to try not to feel out of place all the time. I’m going to embrace the person I’ve become over time and accept that this is who I am. If I’m going to preach acceptance, I have to first accept myself, with or without the mom tribe. Besides, weird is just a side effect of awesome, ya know!

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